Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Frozen in Time

Time stood still yesterday.

Not literally, of course, because I'm not Joshua asking God to make the sun halt in the sky while I defeat all of Israel's enemies.

But you know what I mean, right? A moment where you can hear your heart beating in your ears, and the rest of the world fades to fuzzy, and your brain slows its firing...time stands still.

It started out like a lot of days around here. The boys woke up too early, and I hadn't had enough coffee yet, so I was moving slow.

I made breakfast, set out clothes for the kids to put on, made my bed, brushed my teeth, broke up a fight, cleaned up breakfast dishes, answered a question about something, poured a cup of juice, took a gulp of coffee, muttered a prayer under my breath, found a cartoon for the 3-year-old, and herded the 6, 9, and 11 year old upstairs to start school. All this happened at a normal pace, without a pause in the space-time continuum. (since I don't have a flux capacitor handy)

School was more of the same multi-tasking. Explain the math lesson to the 6th grader, remind the 1st grader how to form the letter 'b,' listen the the 3rd grader reading his book, mark the day on the attendance sheet, break up an argument, sharpen a pencil, take a gulp of coffee, mutter a prayer under my breath, give a spelling quiz, write math problems on the white-board...

After a half hour everyone was started on some seat work, and I decided the cartoon I had started for the 3-year-old had probably ended and I should check on him, so I gave instructions for the other three kids to finish what they were working on and then take a break, and I headed downstairs. In the hall, I picked up three socks laying in the floor (without pausing to wonder where the 4th sock was), then I picked up a shirt (I knew that had come off my 6-year-old's back on his way to the school room, because he is always peeling off his shirt in random places) followed by an apple core (it had certainly been laying there since the day before) and a used and discarded band aid (which could have come off any of my kids, since they all seem to be injured right now.)

I was still holding my random collection of items when I entered my bedroom.

And time stood still.

Because my three-year-old was nowhere to be seen, but the evidence that he had been busy was still present.

Covering my carpet in a random pattern was a lovely shade of bubble-gum pink fingernail polish.

I could hear my heart beating in my ears. I could feel my chest rising and falling. I could smell my brain heating up, I could see the room becoming fuzzy, I could taste the blood from where I was biting my lip.

Moments passed.

(In fairness to Gabe, the carpet really needed some pink. I mean, it already boasts lovely shades of black sharpie, bronze powder, gray eyeshadow, blue juice, and several brown vomit stains from the last round of stomach flue. What it was really missing was some bright pink fingernail polish.)

When time began to move forward again, I realized I had mutilated the apple core, squishing it together with the bloody band aid and squeezing the juice between my fingers. I quickly discarded it in the trash can, added the now empty bottle of nail polish, and tossed the three socks and one shirt in the dirty clothes hamper.

"Kids!" I called. "Get your shoes on, we are going for a walk."

It took a good 5 minutes to get them all ready. Two of them had to stop by the bathroom, one had trouble locating his shoes, and the youngest was hiding from me because he knew better than to show his face.

Sunglasses on, I walked out the front door, (and found the fourth sock on the front steps) and the kids scurried to catch up.

We hadn't even made it to the next mailbox before I started crying. (but at least I had my sunglasses on, so no one knew it, right?)

The weather was beautiful, an absolutely perfect fall day. And as the breeze blew in my face, tousling my kids hair and shaking leaves loose from the trees, time stood still again.

Because, I swear, the Holy Spirit was in that breeze.

And as I cried, and the kids ran, and walked, and jogged, and squealed, and giggled, the Lord stood beside me, and His presence blew through my heart, calming and soothing and just BEING there.

There were no words of revelation. There was no instant disappearing of the stains on my carpet, the sun didn't literally stand still in the sky.

But it was so much better. Because my sweet Lord knew that all I really needed was a reminder that I wasn't alone, and He gave it to me.

He's in the stillness. He's in the craziness.

We aren't alone. We aren't multi-tasking in our own strength.

He's beside us.

He's soothing our souls when we are hurting.

He's calming our hearts when we are overwhelmed.

He's reaching out His hand when we are drowning.

He's pausing the sun in the sky when we need time to win a victory.

And He's reminding me today, like He did yesterday, to take a minute and breath Him in.

And so I'm reminding you. Take a minute.

The apple core won't rot further in the next ten seconds. The stains won't get bigger. The school won't get more or less accomplished. The house won't burn down. The world won't stop spinning.

But time can stand still. And He's there with you in that frozen moment.

And for today, it's enough.

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